In my recent talk to a group of business folks at the Kaseya Connect conference, I made three points about culture being part of your brand.
The first of these points was to “Hire for spirit, train for skill.” The basic idea is that you can train for just about any skill, but it’s hard to train someone to have a good attitude. One bad hire can really throw off the mood of an entire office. We all have bad days, but if you have an employee that constantly disrupts your culture, it will also disrupt your brand.
As freelancers, it’s a little different. But I think there are two areas where we sometimes trade spirit for skill.
Bringing in a client solely for financial reasons without figuring their spirit into the equation can negatively impact your own spirit. Yes, we are in business to be profitable. And it’s true that without profits, you will have much bigger problems than just your culture. But I think a client’s spirit has to be considered. Taking a client only for the paycheck can be okay, but are you really going to be inspired to work on their stuff?
You also have to consider what working for a dull client will do to your work as a whole. If Mr. Downer starts interfering with your ability to perform other client duties, it might be time to weigh your options.
2. Work Environment
Where you work can also affect your culture of one. Be sure that you choose a location that isn’t just about the amount of money it costs, or the “skill.” Your work environment needs to have that “spirit,” even if you work from home. You need a place that will keep you charged up and ready to create as needed, and I’ve found that multiple locations work best for me.
When I’m designing, I like being at the office. For conquering email and other admin items, I prefer a public location where I can feed off the energy of others. As an example, this blog post is being written from a favorite dining spot, Taco Asylum. Your working environment influences the work you put out. Experiment and find the best place or places that work for you.
Stick with me as I further discuss the “culture of one” in my next two blog posts. In the meantime, tell me what you think. Do you think there are other areas where freelancers sometimes sacrifice spirit for skill?
(Previous post: A Culture of One – Intro)